Sunday, September 5, 2010

Response to Feedback: I'm Not Doing So Good :(

Thank you for your responses to my previous blog ("I'm Not Doing So Good"). My blogs post onto several sites, from so I thought it'd be easiest to post this here, as a separate blog entry. That way I can reply to everyone that left me feedback in one place, versus posting a bunch of separate comments. Besides, I tend to write too much to be accepted in the normal "comment" boxes. >.<

I'm not even sure what I'm looking for, in terms if advice. I realize that words can only do so much. I was forced to see a therapist, when I lived in the nursing facility, and often considered it more of an annoyance, than a help. Partly because, I had an AB (able bodied) person sitting across from me, giving me advice. It was infuriating at times, and I couldn't help but think, "Easy for you to say. You get to punch out and leave all this sadness behind at the end of the day. You get to go home to your normal life and care for yourself. You have the freedom to pick up and do things, as you please and the independence to do things for yourself. How on earth can you even begin to empathize with me, or have the audacity to tell me what I should do!" I've been trying my best to cope with everything, in my own way and rely on medicine to take away some of the overwhelming thoughts, or sadness. Unfortunately, my way doesn't seem to be working anymore and I feel myself sliding down, deeper and deeper into a dark hole.

There are times when I think, "Enough is enough. I've tried my best. It's not fair for other people to expect me to live this way. If my loved ones could (anyone for that matter) live a few days in my shoes, they'd understand and willingly let me go." On the other hand, I feel like giving up would just be another failure. I beat myself for my accident, and already feel as though I've ruined my life. To give up, on top of the mistake of my accident, sometimes makes me feel like I'd be an even bigger disappointment, than I already am (to myself, if no one else).

Then there's the fear of the unknown and what consequences would await me, if I gave up my will to live. I don't have a strong belief in any particular faith, and although I've been actively searching (and praying) for a relationship with God (if he, or she, or they exist), but have yet to find any answers. Faith isn't something anyone else can instill in me; if that were the case, I'd be a devout Catholic. I feel as though a faith in God would give me strength and inner peace, in believing that there really is some bigger purpose, or plan, and some sort of justification, for all of my pain. I think a faith in God would also give me the peace of mind that there's something better waiting for me, when I die. Without a heaven, it seems so pointless to even try. I mean, why prolong my suffering, just to die and go into non-existence? Then again, if there is a heaven, what am sitting around for? Why stay here, if I could be happy on the other side?
These are all questions that no one can answer for me.

The unknown adds a lot of stress, because it leaves me full of doubt, and guilt, over making choices. In a way, my accident drained me of confidence in my ability to make good choices. After five and a half years of suffering with the consequences, of one stupid, split second decision, it terrifies me to think that, giving up could be viewed as the wrong choice. It probably sounds silly, to some, but  I'm terrified of screwing up my afterlife (if there is one), as horribly as I've already done with my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Im a horrible person. Actually, I think I'm a pretty good person. I was a good student, hard worker, law abiding citizen, generous and kind person. However, my accident is proof, to me, that none of that matters, if the mistake you make is bad enough. It's a philosophical/theological dilemma, that only adds to my confusion and stress, about my current situation. The lack of a relationship, or true belief in God, also adds to my overwhelming sense of emptiness, and loneliness. In a way, it feels like the ultimate rejection. Here I am, reading books (of many different ideologies), holy scriptures, praying and begging, with all my heart and soul, and all I get in return is silence and more of the same old stuff.

The unknown of the future is stressful as well. When I first got hurt, I believed strongly in a cure. I was hearing and reading researchers talk about all sorts of promising research. The timespan of "five to ten" years, that I heard countless times, seemed tolerable. I can remember laying in bed, at Kessler rehab, saying to two of my best friends, "Even if it takes a full ten years, I'll only be thirty-five. I'll still be young enough to do everything I want to do." Yet, here we are, five years later, and most of what I've read and heard has been disappointment after disappointment. President Bush vetoed the ESC bill, making research in that field slow to snail's pace. The CDRPA, that could've boosted support for research in many areas of spinel cord injury research, was held up in the Senate for years. Even now, there's a fight to overturn President Obama's support for research. Ironically, some of the most important, promising initiatives to support research for a cure, have been bogged down, by the selfishness and ignorance of only a few individuals. It makes me want to scream, and lash out, for every AB person to hear. I want every AB person to see and feel my pain, and understand why a cure matters. I wish there were a way to have selfish individuals (like the most recent road blocker, Judge Royce Lamberth) experience one week of living with quadriplegia, not to gloat in their suffering, not for revenge, but for understanding. I'm 100% positive that one week (without knowing if, or when a cure would be found) would be enough to inspire anyone to support research. The lack of a cure, or evidence of even a remotely close cure, that I could give me back my independence, has chipped away at my hope over time. I currently, have very little hope left, for any cure that could benefit me, in my lifetime.  

My spinal cord injury has given me a perspective on life, that allows me to see the most basic, most important, most valuable aspects of life, that most people take for granted. Unfortunately, the majority of people are blinded by money, power, material possessions, and pride, and have lost the ability to see the obvious order of what their priorities should be; priorities that value the living, improve quality of life and focus on helping others. Either that, or people are so self absorbed, that they can't see the suffering around them, or don't care, until it directly effects their lives. The irony is, anyone can be injured, at anytime. Life can change in the matter of seconds. Just because you are healthy, and on your feet today, is no guarantee that tomorrow you won't be living life in a wheelchair. Finding a cure to paralysis should be among the top priorities for all humanity, not just those of us living with paralysis, at this moment. That's why my message, is almost always aimed at the average AB person. I'm in no way a role model, and have too many struggles, to presume I can give much coping advise to other disabled people. I just want to open AB people's eyes and minds, to what it means to live with paralysis. I'm crying out, "Look at me! Look at what I have to go through everyday. Help me!" I want the average person to look at my situation, and really have it sink in, that I could be anybody; that they could be me.    

As far as writing goes, thank you for your compliments. Writing has always been helpful for me. I've kept journals, on and off, since I was eight. I've thought about pursuing bigger writing goals, like writing a book. I've even started working on a book, several times. I tend to hit a wall, when I have to dredge up the really painful stuff, and as time goes on, my memories are getting blurry (regarding details of the first couple of years post accident). Lately, I've been so depressed, that writing itself, has become painful. Having to focus on my thoughts and write them down, has been making me want to switch gears, find distraction and ignore my feelings. Writing my thoughts down forces me to shine a light on a lot of the things I've been trying to avoid thinking about. My iPad has given me some more freedom, to write at various times of the day, so sometimes I can jot down small pieces of what I'm going through. The ability to be more spontaneous helps. I uploaded the Dragon dictation app recently and I'm waiting for a new headset with built in mic to be delivered. Being able to blurt out my thoughts, might help, because it won't take as much effort to type and therefore, give me less excuses to avoid sharing. As embarrassing as it can be sometimes, I feel it is important for me to put myself (through expressing my feelings) out there. I think people are more likely to help, if they can put a face to a problem. I'm not just an example in a book. I'm living, breathing, and feeling, and can give a personal perspective of paralysis, that a medical definition, or diagnosis, fails to give. I'm trying my best, that's all I can do.  


  1. You should keep working on the book! If you ever want feedback on what you've written so far, let me know!

  2. Chrissy, I came across your blog via your amazon post and am so touched by it. Have you thought of writing books for both children and adults. You write so clearly and beautifully and have certainly made me take a step back and think about my priorities and appreciate what I do have rather than focus on what I don't have.